Another year has come and gone, and a lot has happened in the UAE in 2022. It was a year of significant change and progress for the United Arab Emirates. Here are some of the key events and developments that took place in the UAE over the past year:

UAE Leadership 

In May, the UAE suffered the devastating loss of its beloved Leader of nearly 18 years, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. He will forever be remembered for his legacy in shaping the modern day UAE to what it is today. May his soul rest in peace.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was appointed as the president of the United Arab Emirates in May, Sheikh Khalifa had been president since 2004 and during his time, Sheikh Khalifa oversaw massive economic progress. As a testament of his leadership, leaders from all over the world traveled to the UAE to express their condolences.

Sheikh Mohamed is a well-known figure in the UAE and has played a key role in the country’s development over the past few decades.

Following a 40-day period of grief, President Sheikh Mohamed addressed the country in July and laid forth his vision. He stated that the UAE will continue to promote peace and stability, diversify its economy, increase its pursuit of science and technology, and be a friend to those in need, and that the contributions of the 200 nationalities who name the UAE their second home were much treasured.

Visa Changes

In September, major revisions to the UAE’s visa laws went into effect. They featured long-term residence possibilities for sought-after professions and investors, as well as extended visit visas for tourists.

People of Determination, regardless of age, are awarded a permanent residency visa. The establishment of a job exploration entrance visa for young talents and qualified professionals was among the changes. In Addition, a five-year multi-entry tourist visa was created in addition to the single-entry tourist visa.

Visitors will be allowed to remain for 60 days, rather than the previous 30 days. Parents can sponsor their sons till the age of 25, up from 18, allowing them to stay in the UAE after finishing school and university.

Each of these changes was implemented with the goal of making the UAE a greater place to reside.

Ban of single-use plastic in multiple Emirates

In order to foster a sustainable blue economy, the UAE has set a goal for itself: to ban plastic bags and single-use plastics nationwide. It is a part of the government’s initiatives to safeguard the environment and lessen plastic pollution.

Guidelines for carrier bags are already being implemented in a number of emirates including Umm al Quwain, Dubai, Sharjah, and Abu Dhabi, where carrier bags must be biodegradable, able to be used more than once, made of paper, or made of woven fabric.

Abu Dhabi’s Environment Agency has also introduced efforts to decrease consumer demand for roughly 16 single-use plastic items, including cups, stirrers, lids, and cutlery.  By 2024, it also intends to phase out single-use polystyrene food containers, cups, and plates.

The UAE made history by sending its first analog astronaut.

The eight-month isolation mission that Saleh Al Ameri, the first analog astronaut from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), undertook in Moscow, Russia, came to an end in 2022.  In preparation for upcoming long-term space exploration, the Sirius 20/21 mission is researching the psychological and physiological impacts of isolation on people and team dynamics.

Al Ameri has carried out 70 experiments while he has been isolated, including haptic, hydroponic, and Canadarm2 testing as well as simulations of ISS maintenance operations. In the future, the UAE intends to construct its own analog mission.

The Central Bank of the UAE unveiled new banknotes 

The new five, ten, fifty, and thousand dirham notes now come in polymer, which is more robust and environmentally friendly than cotton paper.

The five Dirham note has pictures of the Ajman Fort on the front and is the same shade of brown/orange. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque appears on one side of the new 10 Dirham note, which is still green.

In 2021, the 50-dirham violet note was introduced to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the UAE. A unique 1,000 Dirham note was issued and will be available in the first half of 2023, to commemorate the nation’s 51st national day.

The Opening of The Museum of the Future

The Museum of the Future debuted in Dubai, highlighting cutting-edge technologies and innovations that are shaping the future of several industries. The museum which offers interactive exhibits, demonstrations, and workshops, and is expected to be a significant tourist destination in the years to come.

Expo City

Expo City Dubai, a massive new development featuring retail, residential, and entertainment spaces, opened in the city. The development is expected to attract millions of visitors and boost the local economy.

Covid-19 Rules Lifted

The Covid-19 rules came to an end in 2022, thanks to the widespread availability of vaccines and continuous effort by the government and residents to navigate the pandemic. The UAE was an early adopter and global leader in rolling out its vaccination campaign in the early stages of availability, and as a result, the country was able to lift most of its Covid-19 restrictions and return to pre-pandemic life.

e-Dirham Phase Out

The UAE’s digital currency, the e-dirham, was phased out in 2022 after a successful run of several years. The Ministry of Finance explained the phase out as a response to customer requirements for flexibility and ease. Qashio cards are a useful mode of payment for all governmental services. Find out more about Qashio corporate cards here.

The New Weekend

Starting in January 2022, The United Arab Emirates implemented a new weekend, with Saturday and Sunday marked as official days off with many companies offering reduced working hours on Fridays. This change was made to align the country’s weekend with the global standard and make it easier for businesses and visitors to plan their travels.

Startup Funding Soar

Several top-funded companies, such as Nana, Eyewa, and Grubtech, expanded in the UAE in 2022. These companies are driving innovation in the Dubai sector and are expected to play a major role in the country’s future economic growth.

Dubai as a Global Hub

Finally, 2022 was a record year for real estate transactions in Dubai, with 122,000 transactions worth AED 430 billion. This is a testament to the city’s attractiveness as a place to live and work, and the continuous efforts taken by Dubai’s leadership.

In other important news… Qashio, the region’s first corporate card & expense Management solution, launched its operations to UAE companies in 2022. 

Reach out to one of our specialists to find out how you can issue corporate cards and gain full control over your spending!

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